What Is Gamification? and How can we use It in Education.

Gamification in education refers to the application of game design elements to an educational setting by educators. Typically, the goal is to make learning more engaging. The use of gamification in a learning environment dates back to the 1980s, with video and computer games like Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. It was released in 1985 by software developer Broderbund Software. It was a smashing success. This game teaches players geography and history while they play detectives, with the ACME Detective Agency on the hunt for a former ACME Detective Carmen San Diego. It received over 70 awards, including the National Educational Media Network’s Silver Apple Award in 1996.

Gaming is extremely popular. More than two out of every three Americans play video games, and that doesn’t even include non-digital games like card games, board games, or children’s games like tag or hide-and-seek. Even simple acts such as “I’m going to flip a coin to decide which movie to watch” can be considered games and demonstrate that there is something universally appealing about games.

Games are also known to provide numerous benefits. The Civilization game series has been used by teachers to teach history. Walden is a game that immerses players completely in a work of literature. Good games teach players new ways of seeing and understanding problems, and if you want to teach children the value of sheer perseverance, put them in front of an old video game console for a while.

Researcher Dr. Nick Yee proposed one way to model the elements of what motivates gamers:

Action (e.g., objectives)
Social (e.g., competition)
Mastery (e.g., scoring)
Achievement (e.g., awards)
Immersion (e.g., roleplaying)
Creativity (e.g., customization)

When educators incorporate the features listed above into a lesson, even if the result isn’t quite a game, the lesson has been gamified. Some features, such as scoring and badges, are commonly used, but educators should also be aware of less structured features, such as decorating a classroom to match the setting of a lesson or assigning students unusual projects. Imagine students who do not want to leave their educational environment!

A well-implemented gamified lesson maintains learning objectives while making the learning process more enjoyable. A gamification is a tool that can increase motivation and interest, thereby reducing student-driven issues in the classroom.

Here are some ideas to up your classroom engagement factor:

Create classroom avatars: If many of your students enjoy games that allow them to create their own characters, you could have them create alter-egos that they can personalise and build on. They can “unlock” clothes and modifications by completing class tasks, or they can develop different skill sets like “engineer” or “historian” that can be used to create custom projects.

Badges can range from simple printed badges given out after completing an assignment to yearlong online leaderboards. Consider all of your students when deciding what kinds of badges to award them. Instead of simply rewarding good grades, focus on rewarding healthy learning habits such as staying focused or persevering through failure.

Make learning into a class quest. Make learning objectives into quests to give students agency and motivation! These can be individual quests (for example, “Speak with the music teacher and gather three facts about Italian music”) or class-wide quests (for example, “Read 100 books”). You can give students choices for which quests to complete in order to differentiate learning while also giving them more control over their learning. You could even set up a class-wide quest board to promote collaboration.

Connect classic games to classroom topics. Many teachers have turned chapter reviews into quiz game shows. However, you can work with any games that you have access to. Consider altering a favorite property-acquisition game so that the properties are historical landmarks. Alternatively, have students play a word game in which certain categories of vocabulary words are rewarded.

The Pros Of Gamification

1. Increases Learner Engagement

Who doesn’t enjoy playing? Even as adults, our natural desire to play does not diminish. Scrolling through slides, occasionally clicking next, and listening to long lectures does not make for an engaging process. Employees who are engaged in their work are more productive. Gamification turns dull eLearning courses into engaging and enjoyable experiences. Games promote friendly competition among coworkers. They make learners feel proud of themselves after completing a course through a series of gamified challenges and tasks. Learners’ retention improves when they feel emotionally connected to the content. Gamification motivates students to complete a course’s learning objectives. They’re curious about what happens next.


2. Provides Real-Time Feedback

Receiving instant feedback, whether negative or positive, as learners progress through the game is a huge plus. It keeps them moving forward in their education. By tying feedback to learning objectives, learners can track their progress throughout the game. It inspires them and makes them want to finish the game successfully. Leaderboards are yet another way to provide additional feedback. It allows students to see how they compare to their peers.


3. Motivates users with features such as badges

Motivation is the driving force that drives learners to want to finish the game and complete their learning. Badges are given out as rewards at various checkpoints throughout the game. They can be as simple as a sticker or as elaborate as a Starbucks gift card for the first 100 employees to complete the game. Badges can be seen in-game or on the company’s website. They’re an excellent technique because they make the user feel important and knowledgeable. Badges provide students with a sense of accomplishment.


The Cons Of Gamification


1. Exorbitant to create

Games take more time to create than traditional instructional design. Time is currency. It doesn’t take much to go over budget due to increased time demands. Not to mention the cost of extra resources used to improve gameplay. It is necessary to pay for animations, graphics, stock photos and videos, music, and sound effects.


2. Diminished Value Over Time

Games are not only expensive to develop, but they are also expensive to maintain. It doesn’t take long for cool games from a few years ago to look out of date. An outdated game may cause employees to wonder if the content is also outdated.

Another disadvantage is the game’s reference value. Games are mostly one-and-done, which means that once a learner has completed the game, they don’t want to play it again if they need to refer to some content. Depending on the content, a quick reference guide may be required in addition to the game. This, of course, raises the project’s cost.


3. Games that are simply poorly disguised quizzes

Games are supposed to be enjoyable. Who enjoys taking tests and quizzes? It takes time and creativity to create interactive, fun games that don’t feel like quizzes masquerading as games. Assessments in games, like any other eLearning course, must be linked back to the learning objectives.

Adult learners may not be motivated by earning points or stars. Tokens, badges, or in-game prizes must be relevant to the learner. Successfully navigating a series of workplace challenges presented in an eLearning course, on the other hand, could be. Real-life job-related scenarios, situations, and challenges are more effective than traditional quizzes and tests.

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